Finding Grants for Robotics Programs

Meeting the demands of 21st Century STEM Education can be thrilling, but it can be a challenge to find funding for your programs. Whether you are developing an early childhood robotics program with VEX 123 or VEX GO, or starting a competition team with VEX IQ or V5, there are grants available for you! As interest in STEM education has grown, so too have the funding opportunities. This article provides resources for educators to find funding for VEX Robotics programs.

This article covers the following:

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US Foundation Funding Sources

Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation

The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in STEM fields by providing significant initial equipment and operational support for regional partnerships and/or school districts committed to full implementation of sustainable VEX Robotics Competition teams in a given geographic area.

There are two main types of grants that are available through the REC: the VEX IQ Challenge (VIQC) Grants and VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) Grants. Visit the Grants page of the REC website, and select the pill button to toggle between the VIQC and VRC to see the many grants that are offered in these areas.

You can also contact your Regional Support Manager (RSM) with any questions and for assistance on which grant(s) would be the best fit for your organization and goals. Select your location on the map on the Robot Events page to contact your RSM.

NEA Foundation

NEA Foundation STEM Grants provide resources for districts to build and expand their STEM programs and professional learning for educators to lead them well. NEA STEM Grants focus on the following areas:

  • Growing the number of existing promising STEM practices within the district
  • Increasing the number of high-need students receiving a high-quality STEM education
  • Emphasizing cross-curricular, project-based learning
  • Giving educators a key role in designing and implementing district-wide STEM initiatives and curriculum
  • Developing partnerships with key members of the community and work with partners to expand STEM activities within and beyond the district

STEMgrants.org

STEMgrants.com provides a free guide to STEM grants that is organized by deadline dates. This list is kept up-to-date and includes grants with an ‘open’ or ‘rolling’ deadline.

Additional sources

Search for STEM within these sources for additional foundation funding opportunities.


US National Funding Sources

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a resource for finding grants offered through government agencies including the National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Commerce, and more. Search ‘STEM’ in the Search Grants page to access a wealth of grant applicant resources.

The National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF offers grants to schools across 24 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This program supports both students and faculty to make studying and teaching STEM accessible. Search ‘STEM’ on the NSF Funding page to find funding sources for your program.

U.S. Department of Education (DOE)—Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP)

MSEIP grants are three-year institutional awards that support a variety of activities including:

  • the development of pre-college enrichment activities in science
  • tutoring and enhancement of research skills in science education for students
  • faculty training to develop specific science research or education skills
  • curriculum development in STEM fields
  • renovation of STEM labs/classrooms
  • any other activities designed to address specific barriers to the entry of minorities into STEM disciplines

21st Century Community Learning Centers - US Department of Education

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. Search for the 21st Century Community Learning Center in your state for organizational funding opportunities.

Title 1

Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. Title 1 is the largest source of federal education funding, and Title 1 grants can be used for STEM Education program development. See this letter from the U.S. Education Department that provides guidance for educators on ways to use Title 1 and Perkins Funds to support STEM professional development and improve access to active learning materials.

Further Information

If you have any questions about VEX products or need supplementary information for your grant proposals, please contact us at sales@vex.com.

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UK Foundation Funding Sources

Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation

The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in STEM fields by providing significant initial equipment and operational support for regional partnerships and/or Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) committed to full implementation of sustainable VEX Robotics Competition teams in a given geographic area.

There are two main types of grants that are available through the REC: the VEX IQ Challenge (VIQC) Grants and VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) Grants. Visit the Grants page of the REC website, and select the pill button to toggle between the VIQC and VRC to see the many grants that are offered in these areas.

You can also contact your Regional Support Manager (RSM) with any questions and for assistance on which grant(s) would be the best fit for your organisation and goals. Select your location on the map on the Robot Events page to contact your RSM.


UK National Funding Sources

Institute of Physics (IOP)

The School Grants Scheme from the IOP offers grants of up to £600 for projects, events and activities that promote a greater interest in physics and engineering in young people. Schools, colleges or home school groups based in the UK and Ireland can apply. There are three deadlines per academic year so funding is available all year ‘round.

The Royal Society

Partnership Grants of up to £3,000 are available to UK schools and colleges to carry out investigative STEM research projects in their classrooms in partnership with a STEM professional from academia or industry. The grants are designed to help schools and colleges purchase equipment to run these projects. The scheme is open to both primary and secondary schools, including sixth form colleges.
The grants are awarded annually so check the dates for submissions.

The Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

The Engineering Education Grant Scheme supports UK-based educational projects that increase engineering knowledge among young people aged 4-19. It also supports projects that improve wider understanding of engineering. Any organisation that delivers UK-based educational activities, including schools, youth groups, IET or IMechE members and STEM organisations can apply. However, organisations that are directly funded by IET or IMechE may not be eligible. In addition, any activities or projects receiving any IET or IMechE funding are ineligible for submission.

There are two levels of funding available. Awards of up to £5,000 (inclusive of any applicable VAT) are available for standard applications, and a small number of awards of up to £15,000 are available each year for projects that aim to make a bigger impact. There are two rounds of funding each year.

British Science Association

British Science Week Grants are available through two schemes, one for school groups and one for community groups. The deadline for applications is late in the year for the following years festival. The requirements vary depending on the type of grant being applied for.

Institute of Mathematics (IOM)

The Education Grant Scheme is available to provide financial support towards the costs of running an educational activity relating to mathematics. The aim of the Education Grants Scheme is to enable organisations to pilot new ideas, approaches and practices or undertake collaborative activities that would not be possible under existing funding schemes. Grants are provided annually so please check dates for submissions.

Holmes Hines Memorial Fund

Small awards are available to help individuals or organisations with any scientific or engineering based activities where public funds are not available. For example, education camps, themed weeks, clubs and conferences.

CREST Awards Support

If registration and support costs are a barrier to running CREST, grants of up to £600 are now available to support and enable schools and organisations to run CREST Awards with young people underrepresented in STEM.

Applicants can request up to £600 total towards running CREST awards, this breaks down into two categories:

  • Up to £300 to cover CREST registration fees (you can find registration costs here)
  • Up to £300 to spend on support costs for running the Awards, such as CPD for school staff, supply teacher cover, CREST link schemes or a delivery partner, consumables or equipment.

Please check eligibility and selection criteria.


The Royal Institution (RI)

Grants of £500 are offered annually, for schools to experience a science, technology, engineering or mathematics activity selected from the STEM Directory. This scheme is generously supported by the Clothworkers’ Foundation and the L.G. Harris Trust.

Teachers can apply for grants to cover £500 towards an activity selected from the STEM Directory. These activities can range from shows and talks, to workshops and team-based challenges, they enrich or go beyond the curriculum and often use resources that are not readily available to schools.

This £500 can be used to cover fees and expenses of the activity provider as well as travel expenses incurred by the school. Any other expenses incurred by the school are not covered by the grant.

Information on the VEX IQ Challenge grants can be found here.

Information on the VEX Robotics Competition grants can be found here.

Further Information

If you have any questions about VEX products or need supplementary information for your grant proposals, please contact us at eusales@vex.com.

All grant information is correct at time of publication, but the nature of grants is always changing and while we endeavour to keep this updated we cannot guarantee information will be current on external links.